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Cyclo[n]pyrroles:  Size and Site-Specific Binding to G-Quadruplexes

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posted on 01.03.2006, 00:00 by Erin Shammel Baker, Jeong Tae Lee, Jonathan L. Sessler, Michael T. Bowers
Inhibiting the enzyme telomerase by stabilizing the G-quadruplex has potential in anticancer drug design. Diprotonated cyclo[n]pyrroles represent a set of expanded porphyrin analogues with structures similar to that of telomestatin, a natural product known to bind to and stabilize G-quadruplexes. As a first step toward testing whether cyclo[n]pyrroles display a similar function, a series of diprotonated cyclo[n]pyrroles (where n = 6, 7, and 8) was each added to the human telomere repeat sequence d(T2AG3)4 and examined with mass spectrometry, ion mobility, and molecular dynamics calculations. Nano-ESI-MS indicated that the smaller the cyclo[n]pyrrole, the more strongly it binds to the telomeric sequence. It was also found that cyclo[6]pyrrole bound to d(T2AG3)4 better than octaethylporphyrin, a finding rationalized by cyclo[6]pyrrole having a 2+ charge, while octaethylporphyrin bears no charge. Ion mobility measurements were used to measure the collision cross section of each d(T2AG3)4/cyclo[n]pyrrole complex. Only one peak was observed in the arrival time distributions for all complexes, and the experimental cross sections indicated that only structures with d(T2AG3)4 in an antiparallel G-quadruplex arrangement and each cyclo[n]pyrrole externally stacked below the G-quartets occur under these experimental conditions. When the cyclo[n]pyrroles were intercalated or nonspecifically bound to the quadruplex, or if conformations different than antiparallel were considered for d(T2AG3)4, the theoretical cross sections did not match experiment. On this basis, it is inferred that (1) external stacking represents the dominant binding mode for the interaction of cyclo[n]pyrroles with d(T2AG3)4 and (2) the overall size and charge of the cyclo[n]pyrroles play important roles in defining the binding strength.